Sasha, a 23-year- old quarter horse mare was seen by Dr. Melissa for thrush that had not responded to various treatments advised by other professionals.

When Melissa arrived at the barn, Sasha was very lame on her right front foot. Examination of the foot revealed a very abnormal looking frog (see photo left). When Dr. Melissa attempted to clean off the abnormal frog, the soft white tissue would bleed very easily. Although the appearance of the abnormal soft sensitive tissue made it clear this was more than simple thrush, Dr. Melissa took some pictures to get more advice on how to help Sasha.

Dr. Paul and Dr. Melissa consulted with a leading veterinarian specializing in podiatry (horse feet). They were advised that Sasha had CANKER.

What is Canker?

Canker is an aggressive infection of the hoof that leads to hypertrophy (overgrowth) of abnormal hoof tissue. Canker tends to occur more frequently in draft horse breeds and tends to be more of a problem in warm wet climates. The exact causes are unknown but the disease can be very problematic if it is not dealt with quickly and thoroughly.

What Did We Do for Sasha?

Dr. Paul and Dr. Melissa formulated a treatment plan for Sasha based on the advice of the foot specialist.

All of the abnormal tissue in Sasha’s foot was thoroughly debrided (cut out with a knife), then the sensitive tissue beneath was treated with cryotherapy (freezing) to ensure that all the abnormal tissue was destroyed.

Sasha’s foot was then carefully bandaged with antibiotic powder and a drying agent to prevent any infection from coming back while Sasha’s foot healed.

It took several weeks of bandage changes and careful cleaning to remove any debris, but Sasha’s frog appears to be growing back in a normal fashion. Sasha is now very comfortable on her foot even without a bandage. Dr. Melissa and Sasha’s owner Deb will continue to monitor the foot as her normal frog grows back.